The Westport Fire Department is urging the public to keep safety in mind when preparing holiday meals and using candles.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving remains the leading day for cooking fires, with three times as many cooking fires as an average day. Most fires that result during cooking can be avoided by paying attention and being organized. To prevent a fire or injury and stay safe when cooking and celebrating Thanksgiving, follow these simple rules:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
- If you must leave the home for even a short period of time, turn off the stove or oven.
- If you are simmering, baking, boiling, or roasting food, check it regularly and remain in the home while food is cooking. Use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.
- Stay alert. Don’t cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
- Keep things that burn – pot holders, oven mitts, paper or plastic - off your stovetop.
- Don’t store things that can burn in an oven, microwave, or toaster oven.
- Clean food and grease off burners, stovetops, and ovens.
- Wear clothing with sleeves that are short, close fitting, or tightly rolled up.
- Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you're cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Don't remove the lid until it is completely cool.
- If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.
- Use turkey fryers outdoors, away from the home and deck. Always monitor oil temperature.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Don’t forget about lit candles. Place them in a safe location that is kept free of combustible surroundings. Consider where combustible items might be placed and where candles could be knocked over and where they could be forgotten about over time. Of course, battery powered, flameless “candles” are always preferred are becoming more available in retail stores, and on the web.